Bush’s gift of victory to Iran’s hardmen

With its every move in Iraq, the White House has strengthened the hand of Tehran

Peter Galbraith, TIMES ONLINE

[..] On the same day in the city of Karbala, south of Baghdad, the Mahdi Army, a militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shi’ite cleric, battled American-backed government security forces that are dominated by the Badr organisation – a militia founded, trained, armed and financed by Iran. How did this paradox come about?

When US forces ousted Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, the Badr organisation infiltrated the south from Iran. In the months that followed, the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) appointed Badr leaders to key positions in Iraq’s army and police.

At the same time the CPA appointed party officials from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) to be governors and serve on governorate councils throughout southern Iraq. SCIRI was founded at Ayatollah Khomeini’s direction in Tehran in 1982. Badr is the militia associated with it.

In the January 2005 elections, SCIRI became the most important component of Iraq’s ruling Shi’ite coalition. In exchange for not taking the prime minister’s slot, it won the right to name key ministers, including the minister of the interior. From that ministry, SCIRI placed Badr militiamen throughout Iraq’s national police.

In short, Bush has from the first facilitated the very event that he warned would be a disastrous consequence of a US withdrawal from Iraq: the takeover of a large part of the country by an Iranian-backed militia.

The United States cannot now undo Bush’s strategic gift to Iran. But, importantly, the most pro-Iranian Shi’ite political party is the one least hostile to the United States. CONTINUE

October 7, 2007 | Comments Off on Bush’s gift of victory to Iran’s hardmen

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